Located a convenient eight kilometres south of the central business district on the north shore of Botany Bay, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport is a world-class airport that connects Sydney to the rest of the country and the world with 28 regional, 23 domestic and 47 international destinations. Sydney Airport stands on what is considered the traditional lands of the Eora Aboriginals, and the site has played a central role in the city’s history since colonial days.
In 1813, convict-turned-successful businessman Simeon Lord established water-powered flour and wool mills after damming the Mill Stream, which resulted in Engine Ponds East and West. His enterprises were considered to be Australia’s first successful private manufacturing industries, and they operated until 1855 when the land was acquired by the government, which demolished the mills in 1862. The site was used for various reasons over the next several decades until 1911 when the first aircraft took off.
By 1920, the grassy pasture area had been declared an aerodrome and was christened Mascot Aerodrome. Just a year later, the Commonwealth began to develop it further as a part of their network of airports. Kingsford Smith now has the reputation as one of the oldest continuously operating airports in the world.
Sydney Airport was expanded during the 1930s, and in 1940, a new passenger terminal was added. During World War II, the airport was expanded even further, and new runways were constructed to provide more military and civilian functions. In 2002, the airport was privatised, and the airport was upgraded and expanded even further.
Today, Sydney Airport is the busiest airport in Australia with nearly 40 million passengers arriving and departing every year. Flights begin as early as 6 a.m. and continue until nearly midnight. Four terminals are available, including one freight terminal. Terminal 1 is the International Terminal and is located in the northwestern sector. It contains 30 gates, several remote bays and serves flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Los Angeles, Auckland and Dubai. Terminals 2 and 3 are domestic terminals that feature nearly 30 parking bays between the two terminals. Domestic passengers who are transferring to international flights may need to allow longer transfer times of about an hour since the International Terminal is located a runway away from the other terminals. The Freight Terminal is used for both international and domestic freight services.
Sydney Airport is easily accessible by train. Underground Cityrail stations are located beneath the International Terminal and the car park between Terminals 1 and 2. Shuttle bus and Sydney Buses also run routes to and from Sydney Airport. Road connections are plentiful, and driving to or from the airport is also a viable option for many. Short-term and long-term parking are both available, and International and domestic terminals offer bicycle racks for those who live nearby.
Accommodations around the airport are plentiful and include budget hotels, five-star hotels and many other options in between. Airport hotels tend to offer convenient access to the CBD and some of Sydney’s top attractions so that no matter how long you plan to be in the city, you will always find plenty to keep yourself occupied.